There is nothing more dangerous than an invincible adventurer.
– Maria Lehtman
Danger is always with us – it becomes manageable if you map out how to cope with risk. The digital age should be reducing our risks – creating more sources of information, and ways to find options to live more securely.
Standing at the edge of a black slope in good weather, we can map our path downwards. We can predict our performance on the snow given the snowboards material, our weight, speed, the terrain, and weather.
What happens in the digital world? Do we sense the weather? Can we take into account when conditions are changing – when the credit card details should stay in the vault instead of distributed to yet another site for services and goods.
In sports, with advanced skills levels, we can take calculated risks and enjoy the ride and the gorgeous Alpine scenery. When our sweat truly breaks is when we need to wander into the unknown.
There are some simple rules to always stay on the good side of danger. I have come to call them ‘The Circles of Comfort’.
For each area in your life – draw a circle of your comfort zone. This represents a position in your life where you are most secure and healthy. Then draw another two circles beyond the first one (outer circles) – to display the zones where you stretch your comfort zone, and what level pushes you into danger, i.e. out of the zones.
To give you an example:
Circle 1 – controlled risk:
You are a skilled snowboarder with years of experience, the weather is clear, powder snow – no avalanche warnings out there – you take the black route and enjoy the ride.
Circle 2 – intermediate risk:
You have less experience on black slopes and deep powder. There is also a chance for avalanche if snowboarding off-piste. You try it anyway.
Circle 3 – high risk:
You have less experience on black slopes, the run is icy and you shortcut to off-piste. Avalanche warning has been given due to weather.
The choice is yours. If you try this technique, you can find your risk-management improved in any area of your life, working with digital technology, traveling, family, job… As an example:
- Inner circle: food & nutrition that keeps you healthy, the amount of exercise that sustains your good condition, etc.
- 2nd circle: added risks: e.g. eating dairy products when you are lactose intolerant. Running five times a week, when your knees support two times a week exercise. Or leaving the sports altogether when your work is mainly a desk job.
- 3rd circle: harmful: eating sweets and drinking soda on a daily basis, smoking, sleeping four hours a night, working 70+ hours/week. etc.
This approach becomes very useful if you or someone close to you in family deals with longer-term situations due to unexpected or challenging circumstances such as constant travel, chronic illness, unemployment, etc. Understanding the limits establishes common ground.
And the snowboarding trip we had in Aosta? We had a blast! Weather and snow conditions were perfect. I forgot that when I started snowboarding 20 years ago, I was horrified of heights! Even now, I stay off some of the mountain slopes – on the safer side of danger.
He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.
Stay safe out there!